Loire Valley by Rail Escorted Tour

6 nights starting from
£899

  • Amboise – home to Leonardo da Vinci from 1516 until his death in 1519

  • Magnificent châteaux – Chambord, Chenonceau and Villandry

  • Beautiful gardens – the ornamental vegetables at Villandry are wonderful

  • Historic riverside towns

  • Based in the regional capital of the Loire in medieval Tours

The building boom of the 15th and 16th century along the banks of the River Loire, inspired and funded by the French monarchy and aristocracy, has left a legacy of marvellous buildings and towns, some of which are explored on this new tour. Based in the regional capital, Tours, highlights include the chateaux at Blois, Chambord, Chenonceau, Amboise and Villandy as well as Fontevraud Abbey and wine tasting in Saumur.

All forthcoming departure dates and live prices are listed below. Click 'book now' next to your choice of departure date to book your place on the tour. 

Available Departures

From

07 - July - 2020 £ 899.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

St Pancras

Departing: 07th July 2020 at 10:24

Returning: 13th July 2020 at 15:35

ITINERARY

Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris and onwards to St Pierre des Corps by TGV.
On arrival, transfer by coach to the Grand Hotel de Tours.


Day 2: Morning guided walking tour of Tours.
Riverside Tours is the regional capital of the Loire and a beautiful medieval city. Our guided walking tour will take in most of the main sights including the heart of the city, the Place Plumereau, Romanesque Tour Charlemagne and Cathédrale St-Gatien. A free afternoon might include a visit to the Musées des Beaux Arts or Compagnonnage or the Hotel Goulin, the finest Renaissance building in the city.


Day 3: Full day tour to the Chateau de Chambord and Blois.
The Loire’s largest building, Chambord’s design was probably initiated by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1537 and was the brainchild of the extravagant Francois I who suggested diverting the River Loire to flow directly in front of his chateau. This 440-room edifice was finally completed by Louis XIV in 1685. The lovely riverside town of Blois is dominated by its chateau, which was the primary royal residence until Henri IV moved the court to Paris in 1598. It is renowned for its extravagant staircase, dating back to 1515 and a masterpiece of French Reniassance design.


Day 4: Full day tour to Fontevraud Abbey and Saumur with afternoon tasting of sparkling wine.
Founded in 1101, the Abbaye de Fontevraud is a remarkable self-contained complex of ecclesiastical buildings that include amazing Romanesque kitchens, beautiful cloisters, superb paintings and effigies and a grand refectory. The charming small town of Saumur, famed for its sparkling wines, is great for exploring on foot. Highlights here include its storybook chateau, dating from the 14th century, Eglise St-Pierre, Gothic town hall and atmospheric old town. We will enjoy a tasting of its famous sparkling wine whilst here and learn about its production.

Day 5: Full day tour to Chateau de Chenonceau and Amboise
Perhaps the most distinctive of all the Loire chateaux, Chenonceau extends over the River Cher with a 60-metre gallery, whose elegant proportions are reflected in the languid water. Described by Flaubert as “floating on air and water,” it was built as a romantic pleasure palace by a series of aristocratic women and boasts formal gardens and grandiose interiors as well as beautifully proportioned and elegant architectural features. The town of Amboise not only boasts a royal chateau but is also where Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1516 until his death in 1519. We will visit the Chateau d'Amboise where da Vinci's tomb is preserved in the chateau's chapel. The chateau also offers spectacular views of the Loire landscape from its balconies, roof and terraced gardens. 

Day 6: Full day tour to Chateau de Villandry and Chateau Azay Le Rideau.
The Chateau de Villandry is an elegant chateau that boasts superb gardens that include the world’s largest ornamental kitchen garden, where flowers and vegetables are grown in strictly geometric patterns, herb garden and the stunning Garden of Love that depicts four types of love: tragic, adulterous, tender and passionate. This afternoon we will visit the Chateau Azay Le Rideau, built on an island in the Indre River under the patronage of King Francis the First. A subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian décor, it is an icon of the new art of building in the Loire Valley in the 16th century


Day 7: Transfer by coach to St Pierre des Corps Station to catch the return TGV to Lille and onwards by Eurostar to St Pancras.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note for 2019 the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.

NEW FOR 2020 
Further to analysis of questionnaires received from many hundreds of our valued clients, we have decided to introduce two key changes to our tours in 2020:

1. The group size on all overseas tours is to be limited to a maximum of 35 or lower.

2. All overseas tours will include a welcome drink on the first evening, so that guests can get to know each other.

We hope that these changes will enhance our tours for all participants.

INCLUDED

  • Return Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras to St Pierre des Corps via Paris/Lille 
  • Six nights' accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the three-star Grand Hotel de Tours, based on shared occupancy of twin room
  • Full coach touring as detailed in the itinerary conducted by tour manager
  • Tour manager throughout 

NOT INCLUDED

  • Holiday insurance
  • Single room supplement
  • Standard Premier/1st Class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On the Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on the French railway leg
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Porterage and gratuities

PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages.Trollies are available at St Pancras and Paris, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform.

Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890

HOTELS

Grand Hotel de Tours
Dating from 1927, the four-star Grand Hotel de Tours is located in the heart of Tours close to the train station and within walking distance of most of the main sights. Recently renovated with Art-Deco flourishes, the hotel offers comfortable well-appointed bedrooms with all modern amenities including private bath/shower, TV, telephone, air-conditioning and wifi.

Grand Hotel de Tours website

Pre-tour accommodation is available at the Premier Inn, London Kings Cross St Pancras, about 5 minutes walk from St Pancras International, at an approximate rate of £120 per room. Bookings can be made direct with the hotel on 0871 527 8672 or visit their
website

Administation
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Overall Impression

A thoroughly enjoyable trip. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and went to a great deal of trouble to ensure that everyone was able to make the most of each venue and do and see as much as possible. This was greatly appreciated.

Review by Robinson who travelled 09-July-2019


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Excellent trip - it exceeded all my expectations. The chateaux were wonderful, the itinerary was really good (allowing plenty of time to visit the properties and gardens at a leasurely pace), the Tour Manager Sandra Mc Gill was very knowledgeable and always helpful and cheerful. All very well organised.

Review by Richardson who travelled 09-July-2019


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 09-July-2019


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Dense itinerary, always kept interesting by tour manager Sandra. Would have welcomed more free time, as we 'rushed' through Blois / Samur, both now need revisiting. My French (rusty since leaving school in 1969) proved good enough, that or the locals were very tolerant! Never a great hotels fan but the Grand is ok - helpful staff, rooms clean if perhaps low on storage (ok for a single person), and plenty for breakfast! Only (unfair) moan is that hotel rooms at the back face other hotel rooms. Happily surprised that as a veggie in mid-France I ate unexpectedly well.

Review by Kosminsky who travelled 09-July-2019


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 09-July-2019


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It would have been better if we had been able to join at Ebbsfleet. It would also have been easier if we had continued to Tour and got on at Tour instead of the previous stop meaning we had to get into another coach. The bedroom was compact and the bathroom needed a good clean especially the shower. Someone mentioned it had been refurbished last year it was all a little tired.

Review by Palmer who travelled 09-July-2019


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Overall Impression

The tour had all we could wish for: an excellent tour manager who had a thorough knowledge of places and history etc., a comfortable hotel with good beds, the opportunity to choose and visit several local restaurants, and exactly the itinerary we wanted.

Review by Walker who travelled 28-August-2018


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Very good holiday. tour manager especially good.

Review by Trenouth who travelled 28-August-2018


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Overall Impression

Sandra performed above and beyond all reasonable expectations managing not only to support a very needy member of the party but also to provide the rest of us with interesting historical information that enhanced our visits. Our previous experience of a TE general tour (as opposed to a lecture tour) had left us feeling these were not for us, but this trip was much much better. Hotel location excellent, beds very comfortable, good bathroom and a good breakfast. Would have been excellent were it not for the strange shade of brown and mushroom of our bedroom décor. 2 minuses on the admin. Not receiving our tickets until about 10 days before meant all the 2nd class international CIV tickets for our onward journey home had already been sold and we had to buy first class ones. The other minus was that the information on line about the Loire Valley referred to the Alpine climate and the Savoyard food - perhaps the tour managers should be asked to check these before they get posted on line Hopefully this has been amended since my email. The only real weakness in the sightseeing programme on the final day is being addressed in next year's programme. Overall we had a very good holiday and would recommend it to others wishing to visit the chateaux of the Loire.

Review by who travelled 28-August-2018


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Sandra and the hotel staff were excellent. We think you should talk up more about the hotel's convenient location for restaurants and coach parking. As always we were grateful for the small party size.

Review by Dunlop who travelled 28-August-2018


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Our tour manager went out of her way to shepherd us in the nicest most caring way, and her historical knowledge was excellent. Thank you very much again, Sandra. However, the trip did not allow for enough Chateaux. ! !Chambord was a highlight, needed 4 hours, particularly as the eateries became so crowded. Blois was interesting but easily seen in two. Chenonceaux was another highlight, Amboise again, interesting but lightly furnished., leaving many hours in town before we were picked up. After Villandry, why not see Ch AZAY-LE RIDEAU ? close to Saumur, and Chateau de Gizeux with its two picture galleries would have been star. We only needed one afternoon of wine-tasting when there were so many riches waiting to be viewed in the area. Fontevraud is fascinating, but with the English Monarch's tombs and one painted chamber on view, everything else was being restored including the kitchens , not viewable, a pity. We could have seen another Chateau after that, rather than spending hours in Saumur. I would have liked a list of the other participants, as I was unable to say goodbye to some of them at St.Pancras, having been met immediately by a very small grandchild. Please share my e-mail with George and Sue ,eg. A happy group, very well led. Thank you.

Review by Isepp who travelled 28-August-2018


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We found the trip excellent but we particularly want to commend the tour manager. Sandra was knowledgeable, friendly and highly efficient and greatly contributed to our enjoyment of the tour.

Review by Cutler who travelled 10-July-2018


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If it’s Loire Chateaux you want to see - then you must do this Tour. From exquisite Villandry, magnificent Chenonceau and Chambord and the peaceful abbey of Fontevraud, this is an inspirational Tour. Tours is a good base and the Grand hotel was, in a very hot July in France, ideal with its brilliant Air Con, sadly missed now back at home, and breakfast available from 6.30 am even at weekends. Some very good restaurants nearby gave a varied choice for dinner each evening. Sandra McGill, our very experienced Tour Manager worked extra hard, with a non ambulent client as well as the rest of the group to look after. She had the history of the Kings and Queens of France and the history of each Chateau at her fingertips. A couple of Wine Tastings were also enjoyed. Being in France for Bastille Day, the World Cup and Le Tour de France added more than a little excitement to this lovely Tour. Thank you, Travel Editions.

Review by Richardson who travelled 10-July-2018


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Review by who travelled 10-July-2018


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Review by who travelled 10-July-2018


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Review by who travelled 10-July-2018


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Overall Impression

Another enjoyable break. Tour manager, Sandra deserves bonus points for coping with a very disabled passenger who apparently did not disclose the fact that he could not walk when he booked the holiday. Hotel was in a good location and local restaurants easily accessed. Enjoyed the sightseeing tours, but some questioned the visit to the wine museum on the last afternoon.

Review by Griffiths who travelled 10-July-2018


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A wonderful week with a superb guide. Sandra was amazing - calm, cheerful and resourceful thoughout, despite a few difficulties. Thank you

Review by Grainger who travelled 10-July-2018


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